NS: Trash talk as Halifax restaurants raise stink about possible garbage fee hike

Haley Ryan, Metro Halifax
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Luc Erjavec of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association says they are urging HRM councillors not to raise waste-disposal fees, and listen to staff recommendations that would allow restaurants to send their garbage outside the city.

Luc Erjavec poses for a photo near some industrial garbage bins on Wednesday.

[HALIFAX, NS] - Halifax restaurants are hoping regional council will agree the Otter Lake landfill has put up with enough of their garbage.

Luc Erjavec of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) said they are urging HRM councillors not to raise waste-disposal fees, and listen to staff recommendations that would allow restaurants to send their garbage outside the city.

“We pay far too much for garbage in HRM,” Erjavec said Wednesday. “Our rates are up to three times the cost of other Canadian jurisdictions.”

Erjavec said council is considering raising the garbage disposal fees from $124 per tonne by 36 per cent, to about $175 per tonne.

Small businesses and restaurants could save money by shipping their garbage to neighbouring districts, Erjavec said, where landfills would welcome the extra income and charge “well under” $100 a tonne.

A “decent-sized” restaurant has $1,000 in garbage bills a month, so the 36 per cent hike would add more than $3,000 to that over the course of a year, Erjavec said.

The province has some of the strictest environmental standards in the country, Erjavec said, so recyclables and compost would still be properly sorted out.

“It’s not as if we’re suggesting sending it to China or dumping it in the ocean, it’s still … meeting the high Nova Scotia standards,” he said.

Erjavec said the garbage might actually travel a shorter distance to an outside landfill, since HRM is such a large municipality that getting waste from one corner over to Otter Lake takes time.

The move would keep large amounts of garbage from going in Otter Lake, Erjavec said, which has made headlines recently over talks to change the front-end processing system.

“If it’s still disposed of in an environmentally-responsible manner … and can save businesses money, and prolong the life of the landfill, why wouldn’t we do it?” said Erjavec.

Council is expected to vote on the increased garbage fee in the next few weeks.

Organizations: Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Geographic location: Otter Lake, Nova Scotia, China

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